You will hear many different opinions on why the Supreme Court decided that it would hear the presidential immunity case, so brace yourself. Today is only the first day and the shock is new. As it begins to wear off and more information becomes available, the entire issue will be fleshed out and then gone over with a microscope. For now, consider the words of conservative judge J. Michael Luttig.

Look, this is a momentous decision, just to hear this case. There was no reason in this world for the Supreme Court to take this case. The three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia had written a masterful opinion, denying that the president’s claims of absolute immunity under the constitution and the laws of the United States, there’s never been an argument that a former president is immune from prosecution for crimes that he committed while in office.

On a more practical level, of course, the court — the Supreme Court is capable of deciding this very quickly, in time that the former president could be tried, before the election. But today’s decision makes that that much more unlikely.

So SCOTUS is seen as stalling the Jack Smith January 6 case. That is a basic reality. But, here’s the silver lining in this: Whenever Trump’s trial is heard, pre or post election, if we get out the vote, if he’s defeated at the ballot box, that’s the big deal. And yes, it is completely unfair for SCOTUS to stonewall his case being adjudicated before the election. And they’re most likely doing that on purpose, because they (or at least the five conservatives slash traitors) know that Trump being convicted criminally before the election for his actions on January 6 would likely finish him at the ballot box.

So it’s up to us. That’s as simple as it gets. And here is what Ted Lieu said.

Here’s what Joyce Vance said:

Americans deserve a trial before the election. The chances we will get it are slipping away. Nothing about the Supreme Court’s pace so far suggests they’re in a hurry or will be when it comes to issuing an opinion.

This isn’t a hard case. The substantive argument Trump makes—that presidents are entitled to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for anything they do in office and more specifically, for trying to steal an election—has to be a loser. As we’ve discussed before, if it’s not, our claim to be a democracy is no longer viable. Presidents would be forever above the law. There’s always a chance the Court could decide the appeal quickly and the case could be tried in advance of the election, but there are no guarantees, and I’m not here tonight to be a Pollyanna. Yes, there’s a path that gets us there in time, and it is so clearly what justice demands. But it’s important to be realistic and to look objectively at the tea leaves the Court has given us to read about the lack of urgency it feels to decide this appeal quickly.

Some folks have suggested that the Special Counsel could ask Judge Chutkan, once the case is back in front of her, to give Trump less than the 88 days she previously committed to for trial preparation. That’s a dangerous strategy. It could set up an argument that Trump could use successfully on appeal if he’s convicted unless there’s a sound justification for forcing him to trial with insufficient time to prepare based on the Judge’s initial assessment of what he needed. If there’s anything that would be worse for the country than not having this trial before the election, if would be a conviction that is reversed on appeal. Trump would burn the country down, exacting retribution and demanding a do-over for an election that was “stolen” from him. The right path forward is for the Supreme Court to do its job and decide this appeal promptly. Unfortunately, they don’t seem inclined to do so.

Here’s where the Supreme Court has left us: People in some of the key states are likely to be finalizing decisions about who to vote for while a trial is still ongoing or perhaps even before it begins. A verdict could happen only after some or all of the country votes. The Supreme Court’s message to us is, “Hey voters, we’re leaving this up to you.”

We can hope for the best—a fast decision on immunity and a timely trial—but we should take the Court’s message seriously. This election may well be up to us, the voters, without any input from a jury as to whether Donald Trump criminally interfered with the 2020 election. But we did get it done in 2020. We need to get ready to do it again. […]

A friend who has always voted Republican, who twice voted for Trump, now says that not only will he not vote for Trump again, instead of just staying home he’s going to vote for Biden because he’s realized he cares more about the country than he does about the Republican party.

I hope there are more people in this country like Joyce Vance’s friend. And maybe SCOTUS will decide this matter quickly. Then Trump can’t claim that the was abandoned by the Supreme Court.

Once again I positively marvel that this nobody of a person, this fraud who squandered many hundreds of millions of dollars of inherited money and got into politics as a grift and for a lark, ended up being at the center of our political and judicial systems like he is.

But again, look at the silver lining(s). Maybe we needed somebody like Trump to expose to us the weaknesses in our system. Maybe we need to have these cases decided so that 100 years from now, 200 years from now, a smarter version of Trump doesn’t manage to come along and take over the way he intended to.

If people turn out like never before and vote, if Trump is overwhelmingly crushed at the ballot box, that is the greatest victory of all, far greater than having him be kept from the ballot — although in point of fact, if the 14th Amendment applies to any human being in this country, living or dead, past or present, it’s him. He should be kept off the ballot.

And he should be tried for his January 6 actions before the election. But if not before, then fine, let’s try him after the election, after he has resoundingly lost.

I look forward to nothing so much as the day when the headlines here and elsewhere are all devoted to whether President Biden should pardon the convicted criminal, Trump. That will be a great day. Because the other alternative is the end of democracy. Liz Cheney said on the Today Show this morning that if Trump is reelected, he will never leave office. And we know that. We all know that. Cheney said that Republicans need to “do whatever it takes to make sure that Donald Trump is defeated in 2024,” including potentially voting for Biden.

It’s not about voting for Joe Biden anymore. He just happens to be the guy who’s the Democrat at this time in history. It’s about voting for democracy and future elections. And finally, SCOTUS could throw yet another curve ball. They could swiftly decide this matter in late April. Then Judge Chutkan can put the trial together and the matter can be heard before the election and Trump can’t complain that he was wronged by the Supreme Court. Maybe the court is in CYA mode, they know that he has no claim of presidential immunity, but they want to rule on it and carve it in stone.

Who knows? There are too many variables. But the winning scenario in all of them is simply getting out the vote and having an historic turnout, one that dwarfs 2020. That’s the answer to everything in a democracy, always has been, always will be. Maybe we just needed to be reminded.

 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. “Once again I positively marvel that this nobody of a person, this fraud who squandered many hundreds of millions of dollars of inherited money and got into politics as a grift and for a lark, ended up being at the center of our political and judicial systems like he is.”

    But he did.

    And we, all of us, have to correct it.

    We shouldn’t need reminding, but the more we are reminded, the better.

    27
  2. Welcome to the Revolutionary War Sequel…It’s the American patriots versus the fascists who want an evil, corrupt king. FIGHT LIKE YOUR VERY EXISTENCE IS AT STAKE BECAUSE IT IS!!!!! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

    15
  3. If there was ever a reason that we should add to the court this partisan judgement is it. There is no doubt that they are looking at this loser case and decided to do the only thing they could to help their party. 5 of them wanted the stay, why? It’s not in the interest of the United States, nor in the interest of justice, it’s in the interest of the Republican Party. The plain and simple remedy from this happening over & over is to add to the court.

    14
  4. The solution to this mess, and future messes committed by corrupt judges, is to get rid of republicans and EVERYTHING must be on the table to do this. When the republican/magat party is so small we can drown it in a bathtub, we can make our country what it should be: that bright shining light for the world to see. The U.S. can take back its place as a world leader-trump lost that for us too.

  5. I hope we NEVER have to hear a conversation about whether Joe Biden should pardon tRump! If we’ve learned anything it’s that these constant capitulations to repugs just emboldens them to do further criming. Nixon should have gone to jail, as should have Reagan and cohorts (for Iran/Contra), Bush/Cheney (for lying us into Iraq), and tRump (and flunkies) for everything under the sun. Just throw their a**es in jail for committing crimes! Maybe it’ll slow down the next crop of wanna be thugs.

  6. A silver lining? More like a straight jacket. Republicans (including the partisan conservatives on the Supreme Court) know that our side is constrained by ethics and the law. They, meanwhile, are plotting every possible way to return to Trump to power. Of course they prefer to do it through any “legal” loopholes they can find. But the threats of violence are always there.
    I’m not sure if indifferent citizens can be motivated to vote by lofty ideals like democracy and the rule of law. Democrats need to focus on the GOP’s misogynist policies, and the economic harm caused by Republicans (anti-union, vows to cut Social Security, etc.).

  7. And we have Merrick Milquetoast Garland to thank for not having testicular fortitude to start this whole process 3 years ago. That should have been his first official act rather than hiding under his disk.

    10
  8. SCOTUS took the immunity case because it’s a critical issue that will have effect on future presidents as well as the orange ex, so it’s important that the highest court make the ruling. And there’s no chance they’ll say that the President is above the law.

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